Myth #03: Does hard work determine someone’s success?
El Sod, Ethiopia - March 8th, 2012: Unidentified Borana boy helps his father to mine salt from the crater lake El Sod, Ethiopia on March 8, 2012.

Myth #03: Does hard work determine someone’s success?

Hard work IS important to achieve one’s goals. Just one place to look for an example is any of the scientists working day and night to try and find a vaccine for COVID-19. All of them trained extraordinarily hard to be in a position to contribute to this crucial work.

Unfortunately, for the 734 million people living in extreme poverty, it takes hard work every day just to survive and cover their basic needs. For example, women globally spend 200 million work hours every day collecting water for their families—the equivalent of building 28 Empire State Buildings. Shouldn’t we be empowering people more who have the misfortune to live in the poorest parts of the world? 

The Nobel prize-winning social scientist Herbert Simon estimated that around 90% of what people earn is based upon their social capital — the places, networks, and opportunities that make up their present circumstances. It’s a hugely uneven playing field, where some of us are much more empowered than others, from the moment we’re born, to solve our own problems. 

Supporting the work of our recommended nonprofits can’t level the playing field, but it can save lives, reduce suffering and empower livelihoods. Donating is also a concrete way to make a difference in people’s lives at a time when it seems that we are powerless in the face of the virus and other forces that we witness daily.

To save lives, there is no need to wait for an anti-COVID-19 vaccine. Donate now!!

Do Good. Feel Good.

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About the author:

Charles Bresler

Co-founder, Board Member

After earning a PhD in Social and Clinical Psychology, Charlie Bresler became director of behavioral medicine for The California School of Professional Psychology, Fresno (CSPP-F), where he was a full-time professor and founder of a teaching clinic for anxiety & stress disorders. In 1993, he was recruited by The Men’s Wearhouse, where he went on to be head of human resources, stores, marketing, and, ultimately, president. He stepped down in 2008 to fulfill his long-standing desire to work directly on social and economic issues, not too long after he read Peter Singer’s book, The Life You Can Save. Catalyzed by the concept, Charlie reached out to Peter and proposed combining Peter’s theory with the formation of a nonprofit to advance Peter’s ideas and to raise money for high-impact, cost-effective organizations. Together, they founded The Life You Can Save, where Charlie took on all organizational operations as executive director until 2024. He was supported in this work and in his financial support for the organization by his wife Diana, a family physician, and executed the role pro bono.

The views expressed in blog posts are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Peter Singer or The Life You Can Save.